Pan­demic ben­e­fits rolled into monthly pay­out

Toronto Sun - - NEWS -

OT­TAWA — The Lib­er­als are repackagin­g two pre­vi­ously promised ben­e­fits for Cana­di­ans whose work­ing lives are dis­rupted by COVID-19, a change that will al­most double di­rect fi­nan­cial aid in the govern­ment’s eco­nomic plan to $52 bil­lion.

Com­bin­ing the ben­e­fits into one will mean a $2,000-a-month pay­ment for up to four months to work­ers whose in­come drops to zero be­cause of the pan­demic, in­clud­ing if they have been fur­loughed by their em­ploy­ers, but tech­ni­cally still have jobs.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau said the mea­sure al­lows com­pa­nies to tem­po­rar­ily let go of work­ers to cut pay­roll costs, but puts money in the af­fected em­ploy­ees’ pock­ets.

“Com­pa­nies don’t need to separate their em­ployee from their com­pany. They just need to say, ‘We can’t pay you dur­ing this time pe­riod.’ And when that hap­pens, there is a di­rect wage sub­sidy to peo­ple, to em­ploy­ees so that they can ac­tu­ally live their lives,” he said. Af­fected work­ers will have to fill out an online ap­pli­ca­tion and meet con­di­tions to qual­ify. It will ap­ply to work­ers af­fected be­tween March 15 and Oct. 3. Over the last week or so, there have been al­most a mil­lion new EI claims — far above the typ­i­cal 45,000.

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